Governor Rotimi Akeredolu on Monday issued all herdsmen in Ondo State a 7-day ultimatum to vacate the Ondo forest reserves.
The governor who announced his decision on twitter also banned night-grazing and movement of cattle within cities and highways in the state.
“These unfortunate incidents are traceable to the activities of some bad elements masquerading as herdsmen.
“These felons have turned our forest reserves into hideouts for keeping victims of kidnapping, negotiating for ransom and carrying out other criminal activities.
“As the Chief Law and Security Officer of the State, it is my constitutional obligation to do everything lawful to protect the lives and property of all residents of the State. In light of the foregoing, the following orders are hereby issued:
“1. All Forest Reserves in the State are to be vacated by herdsmen within the next 7 days with effect from today, Monday 18th January, 2021.
“2. Night-grazing is banned with immediate effect because most farm destruction takes place at night.
“3. Movement of cattle within cities and highways is prohibited.
“4. Under-aged grazing of cattle is outlawed.
“Our resolution to guarantee safety of lives and property within the State shall remain utmost as security agencies have been directed to enforce the ban.
“In its usual magnanimity, our administration will give a grace period of seven days for those who wish to carry on with their cattle-rearing business to register with appropriate authorities.”
Governor Akeredolu’s order was however greeted with mixed reactions. Some say his orders contradicts the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, while others say the order is within the governor’s powers.
Reacting to the development, the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN) in Ondo State said that the governor’s order was different from their agreement in a meeting with him the previous day.
Alhaji Bello Garba, the Miyetti Allah Chairman in Ondo State, noted that in their meeting with the governor 24 hours before his announcement, they agreed they would work with security agencies to expose criminals.
“We are not aware of any order from the governor directing our people to vacate Ondo forest reserves because during our face-to-face meeting with him yesterday, he did not say anything like that,” he said.
“The governor summoned a meeting with us, the Fulani leaders and those representing farmers to discuss security issues. He said farmers and herders live in the forests and that is where criminals live.
“He said we should expose criminals who are kidnapping people for ransom. The governor also asked us to ask our people to desist from night grazing or moving our cattle on the highway. This is all I know,” Alhaji Garba said.
Ogbodo ThankGod is currently the Managing Director/CEO/Group Chief Editor at Naija Buzz News Network. He was the Chief Editor at NaijaBuzz.News before his new top leadership role. Ogbodo has years of experience in the Nigeria Media Industry and has co-founded some media companies. He is the founder of Ogbodo Solution Nigeria and 1Push.Ng. He loves playing football and is a strong supporter of Lionel Messi who he describes as the greatest footballer of all time.